What’s the Cheapest iPhone?

The cheapest iPhone is the iPhone SE. At $399 still as of 11/9/16, it’s $250 cheaper than the iPhone 7 and $350 cheaper than the iPhone 7 plus. People who buy this iPhone are sacrificing physical size and in some cases memory and battery life. The easiest way to buy it is to get it from the Apple Store. The Store has the iPhone SE in and out of contract. For used or reconditioned or iPhones, Amazon, Overstock and Newegg and Verizon have the cheapest iPhones on the market. The only way to get a cheaper iPhone is to buy used.

Cheapest iPhone: iPhone SE

The table below compares the iPhone SE to the other iPhone models currently for sale from Apple. Really the biggest difference between the cheapest iPhone and the more expensive ones is size. The trend in smartphones has been for bigger and bigger screens, which means bigger, heavier phones. That also comes with longer battery life in some cases or more memory. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have to mean a slower phone or a sacrifice in camera quality. If you’re not one of those smartphone users who won’t be satisfied until you can hide from a hailstorm beneath your phone, the SE is the iPhone you’ve been looking for. In this case, “cheapest” doesn’t mean “worst.”

Cheapest iPhone Comparison
New iPhonesPrices (New)SpecsWhy Better than the Cheapest iPhone?
iPhone SE (Cheapest iPhone)$39916GB-64GB, 4 ounces, 4" Retina Display, A9 Chip, 12 megapixel camera, Touch ID, 14hr battery
iPhone 6 (Second Cheapest iPhone)$54916GB-64GB, 4.5 ounces, 4.7" Retina Display, A8 Chip, 8 megapixel camera, Touch ID, 14hr batteryBigger screen, worse camera, older chip.
iPhone 6 Plus$64916GB-64GB, 6 ounces, 5.5" Retina Display, A8 Chip, 8 megapixel camera, Touch ID, 24hr batteryMuch bigger screen, longer battery, worse camera, older chip than the cheapest iPhone.
iPhone 6s$64916GB-128GB, 5 ounces, 4.7" Retina Display, A9 Chip, 12 megapixel camera, Touch ID, 14hr batteryBigger screen, higher max memory than the cheapest iPhone.
iPhone 6s Plus$74916GB-128GB, 7 ounces, 5.5" Retina Display, A9 Chip, 12 megapixel camera, Touch ID, 24hr batteryMuch bigger screen, higher max memory, longer battery than the cheapest iPhone.

Cheapest iPhoneApart from screen size, there’s virtually no reason to go for the iPhone 6 over the cheapest iPhone – the SE. The SE has a 12MP camera vs the 6’s 8MP. The SE has the newer A9 chip, while the iPhone 6 has the older A8 chip. What’s the difference between A8 and A9? Speed. According to most tech publications on the web, the A9 chip is anywhere from 50% to 70% faster than the old A8 chip. The bottom line? Anyone who buys the iPhone 6 loves the idea of a slightly bigger screen so much they’re willing to pay an extra $150 and sacrifice camera quality and speed.

The iPhone 6 Plus’s $649 price tag makes slightly more sense compared to the cheapest iPhone – the SE. Not only does it have a much bigger screen, it also has about twice the battery life. However, with the A8 chip, it’s also slower and has an 8MP camera. Using the same logic as above, anyone who buys the 6 Plus over the cheapest iPhone is willing to give up $250, plus speed and camera quality in exchange for a much bigger screen and longer lasting battery.

The iPhone 6s makes a bit more sense. It’s not the cheapest, but at the same price as the 6 Plus, it’s still only $250 more than the SE. For that extra money, shoppers get the same speedy A9 chip that’s in the SE, plus the same camera resolution, a bigger screen and higher max memory potential. That’s probably worth the money for some iPhone users.

What about the iPhone 6s Plus? For those who love big screens and have the extra cash, this choice is a no-brainer. True, it’s $350 more than the SE. Still, it’s got a much bigger screen, higher max memory and longer battery life than the cheapest iPhone. Once Apple fans factor in the fantastic trade in deals on offer, the extra $350 doesn’t really seem that bad a bump.

Cheapest iPhone Under Contract

Cheapest Contract iPhoneSome people really, really want an iPhone but they don’t want to pay even the $399 up front price for the cheapest model on the market. For those shoppers, Apple has it covered. Consumers can get the cheapest iPhone for $0 up front, provided they’re okay with paying a monthly contract fee. Monthly payments are anywhere from upwards of $36.58 a month for the iPhone 6s Plus down to $16.66 for an iPhone SE, all the way down to $11.67 for an iPhone 5s. Once again, these exact deals may not be around still by the time you read this article. The point here isn’t to show exact deals but to show some options shoppers can find online with minimal searching.

Cheapest iPhones Under Contract (New, $0 Up Front)
ModelCarrierContract LengthMonthly Cost
iPhone 5s, 32GB (Cheapest iPhone under contract)AT&T30 months$11.67
iPhone 5s, 16GB (2nd cheapest iPhone with contract but cheapest considering shorter contract.)Sprint24 months$12.50
iPhone 5c, 16GBSprint24 months$15.00
iPhone 6, 16GBVerizon24 months$18.74
iPhone SE, 16GBVerizon24 months$16.66

Cheapest iPhone Without Contract (Older Models but Not Used)

Cheapest Used iPhone

Overstock has some good deals on “new” cheap iPhones, as long as you don’t mind older models.

For shoppers who just want the cheapest non-used iPhone and they don’t care if it’s been discontinued, the table below is a good starting point. It’s possible to get an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 online, brand new, still in the box, for under $100. That’s $300 less than even the cheapest iPhone in the table above. The specs are naturally a lot lower-grade than the iPhones currently for sale on the Apple store. 8GB of memory instead of a minimum of 16GB, a 7hr battery, a 3.5 inch screen and a slower processor are all drawbacks. Still, it’s an iPhone, and it’s cheap. These exact deals may not be available by the time you read this article, so we haven’t included direct links. That said, the offers below should give you a good place to start if you’re just looking for a cheap new iPhone and you don’t care about the latest models.

Top 5 Cheap New iPhone (no contract) Deals Online
iPhone 3GS (Cheapest iPhone without contract.)$76.49Overstock8 GB
iPhone 4 (2nd cheapest iPhone without contract.)$83.49Overstock8 GB
iPhone 4$85.99Overstock8 GB
iPhone 4$94.47Amazon8 GB
iPhone 4$95.00Amazon8 GB

Cheapest Used/Refurbished iPhones

Newegg has Cheap iPhones

Check out NewEgg for some cheap deals on used iPhones.

Shoppers who are willing to put up with used or refurbished goods can find the very cheapest iPhones online by doing a quick search at Amazon, Overstock and NewEgg. A MoneyNation hunt for used phones turned up cheap deals on iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models in the $50-$70 range. We’ve once again put together a table of cheap deals below for comparison’s sake. Again, these particular items have almost certainly sold by now, so this section should serve as a tip: Check out Amazon first, Overstock second and NewEgg last. BestBuy also offers reconditioned iPhones cheap online, but they didn’t have any of the iPhone 4 or 4S models in stock at the time we did the search, so their prices were considerably higher. Still, if you’re looking for an iPhone 5 or 5s, check them out.

Cheapest Refurbished iPhones for Sale
iPhone 4 (Cheapest refurbished iPhone)$55.00NewEgg8 GB
iPhone 4$59.99Amazon8 GB
iPhone 4$62.99Amazon8 GB
iPhone 4S$65.99NewEgg8 GB
iPhone 4S$69.00NewEgg8 GB

See the unveiling of the cheapest of the current iPhone line from March of 2016 below. Like saving money? Check out our post here on the top ways to save money at Amazon. Also try this post on the best cheap watches.